So does David Lee recall the last time the Knicks won four straight games?
“Yeah, I do,” he said. “Was it the Larry Brown year?”
In fact, it was. And it was also Lee’s first NBA season, when Brown thought about trying him at small forward. The Knicks won the first six games of the calendar year 2006 – from Jan. 2-13.
“He started two pretty good rookies in those games,” Lee said as he glanced over at Nate Robinson, seated nearby. “I think then we got 18 DNPs in a row and we lost 19 out of 21.”
Forgive Lee for such a sobering remark. But that’s what experience has showed him in five seasons – feels like 10 in Knick years – in New York.
So what is this current stretch of success – which includes a resounding 113-96 comeback win over the Hornets on Friday night – for this team that once looked so overwhelmed at 1-9?
Mike D’Antoni tried to be as understated as possible when he surmised, “We’re just playing really well right now. Hopefully we just keep our heads down and keep plugging.”
The schedule means they have to wait a few more days to plug more, as Friday’s game was the only one amid a stretch of seven days. Things pick up again with games this week on Tuesday in Charlotte and Thursday in Chicago. Though you might think the players would prefer to ride their momentum, Al Harrington says he doesn’t mind the extra days off.
“I’d rather take them because we’ve been getting a lot of work done in practice, just getting better,” he said. “We get two more days and really prepare for Charlotte, try to beat them and then go to Chicago.”
The Bobcats, whom the Knicks play again next Sunday at the Garden, are somewhat of a target for the Knicks (8-15), who trail them for the critical eighth spot – representing the final playoff berth – in the East. And when you’ve been to the depths this franchise has seen over the past five years, it’s never too early to jockey for playoff positioning.
“We’re definitely back in it,” Chris Duhon said. “We were definitely in a deep hole and now we’ve put ourselves back in the opportunity to get into the playoffs, which is our goal. For us, we just have to keep going.”
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The Knicks’ 18-0 run to end Friday’s win in New Orleans was six shy of the franchise record for most consecutive points scored in a game. The Knicks scored 24 straight in the third quarter against Indiana on Nov. 15, 2003 in what resulted in a 95-94 loss. The run was also not the longest to end a game, as some fans might remember the 19-0 run in the final 5:11 against Milwaukee on Nov. 18, 1972, when the Knicks came back from an 86-68 deficit to take an improbable 87-86 win over Oscar Robertson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the Bucks at the Garden.